The recent development of tourism in the Czech Republic
The situation changed dramatically after the Velvet Revolution in 1989. Before then, in communist times, people had the right by law to travel abroad but it was limited, not politically but financially. You had the right to apply once in three years for hard currency. And once you received it you could apply for a visa to travel out of the Czech Republic. In theory everyone could travel abroad once in every three years, but in practice this was not the case for 80 or 90 per cent of the population. It was impossible for the majority.
And then, as soon as the barbed wire came down, here the situation was very similar to Germany when the Berlin Wall came down. People were free to travel. They no longer needed a visa. Everyone had to go abroad just to prove that it was true. So there were queues on the frontier. Everyone went out of the country in the morning and came back in the evening just to convince himself that he could. It was a great sense of freedom.
And then people began to want to travel out for more than one day. Before the revolution there were only two travel agencies: the state travel agency and the cooperative travel agency. Both had been state owned. All trips had been arranged as group travel, so you had to stay with your tour leader. At the present times there are 3.000 travel agencies. Perhaps economic changes and market forces will reduce this number but Czechs love to travel. The most popular way to travel is a coach trip because it’s the cheapest.
The number of inbound tourists also began to increase. Foreigners could always visit Prague, but with the cold war and the iron curtain people weren’t that interested. Now they are eager to see what they have been missing, and of course Prague is a beautiful city. It has monuments and buildings of almost every European period. The problem in the beginning was the lack of suitable accommodation. This was dealt with adapted and refurbished workers’ and student accommodation. Many international chains built new top class hotels. So, the Czech Republic has become a popular tourist destination.
Tourism in Ireland
Ireland is a beautiful country with ancient culture. Nowadays it is a popular tourist destination. However, nobody knows the beginning of tourism in Ireland. In 1845 there was a horse-drawn coach service operating round Ireland 4 000 miles a day. In the 19th century all the visitors to Ireland came from Britain. The first package tour from America took place in 1895. the beginning of the 20th century was favourable for the development of tourism and in 1920 the 1st official tourism office was opened. During the Second World War in 1941 – 1945 the economy of Great Britain had food scarcity and American soldiers visited Ireland to eat better. After 1945 plentiful food supply in Ireland attracted more British visitors.
Over the last 30 years tourism industry in Ireland has really expanded. The government of the country has played a positive role helping tourism business in its development. Government policy has been especially directed on the promotion of special interest holidays, such as golfing, hiking, fishing. Besides, special purpose English language holidays have been growing quite steadily.
Ireland has become the 3rd largest export earner as it employs 91 000 people. Nowadays Irish tourism appeals to younger generation, independent travelers, and to Irish Americans in search of their roots. The highlight of Ireland is its special attraction: the cultural holiday to Dublin, Blarney and Kilkenny. Most visitors are from the UK and they account 55%. Europeans also show interest to Irish culture, their number is 28.8 %. The average stay is 11.1 days for holidays and 10.4 days for VFR.
So, rich ancient culture, right government policy, creative and hard work of people in the tourist industry made Ireland the prosperous and attractive place on the Earth.
Package holiday mean that large numbers of holidaymakers arrive at the same time at the same resort, traveling on a holiday sold by the same tour operator. Because of this, the better tour operators employ full-time staff to live and work at their resorts during the holiday season. These employees are overseas or holiday reps. ‘Rep’ is an abbreviation for ‘representative’.
In large resorts, a tour operator will often designate specific duties to different reds. In this way the company may advertise for
- children’s reps to work specifically with groups of children aged two and over;
- transfer reps to travel with holidaymakers to and from the air port and the accommodation;
- club reps to take men and women between 18 and 35 out to local clubs and discos;
- ski reps, who are holiday reps at winter ski resorts.
Resort representatives are the first point of contact for holidaymakers at their destinations. They represent the tour operator, and aim to ensure the success of the clients’ holidays.
Representatives meet each party of holidaymakers on their arrival at the airport and accompany them by coach to their accommodation. Usually, they hold a welcome meeting soon after arrival to give the holidaymakers information about resort facilities and attractions.
Resort representatives arrange regular times to meet holidaymakers to make announcements and deal with enquiries and problems. They keep an information board, and often a folder of useful information, up-to-date. They may also arrange, book, and sometimes accompany excursions and sightseeing trips and arrange car or ski hire.
In addition to this they need to be available at almost any time to give advice, solve problems, and deal with emergencies such as loss of passports or money, illness, or difficulties with accommodation.
The completion of paperwork is an important aspect of the job. This involves keeping records and writing reports of complaints and incidents such as illness.
Representatives’ work is seasonal. Depending on the resort / country, holiday seasons may run from April onwards, October to January or January to April. Hours of work are variable. Representatives often work from early morning to late evening and at weekends and can be on call 24 hours a day.
A driving license is usually needed, as representatives need to travel between hotels or other holiday accommodation and may be responsible for a wide area.
As a resort representative you should be self-confident, with a pleasant, cheerful, and outgoing nature.
Tourism is a powerful and sometimes dangerous force in the modern world. Tourism can save cultures and the local way of life but it can also destroy them. Tourism can help to protect environments, plants and animals, but it can also damage them. So problems of ecology are very important nowadays.
Ecotourism is environmentally friendly and it also benefits local communities. Ecotourism is called responsible and sensitive tourism. Some tourist companies advertise jungle treks, scuba diving and other expeditions as ‘nature tourism’. But the popularity of these activities has caused environmental problems. Like mass tourism, mass jungle trekking can damage the ecosystem and the living and working conditions of local people.
Tourists only think of what they pay for food, travelling and accommodation. Nature for them is free. It is not so. The natural environment will be destroyed if tour operators and tourists don’t change the way of thinking.
Tour companies must provide travellers with a pack of instructions on how to behave and what to do to best preserve the cultures and places visited. The key factor in minimizing damage through tourism is to keep groups to a manageable size and then you can control how they behave. People now go on holiday to restore ancient monuments or clean up beaches. There are programmes to protect wildlife habitats in Kenya and Tanzania, to save the rhino, veterinary programmes and so on.
It is important to educate visitors so that they are sensitive to both the physical and the cultural environments of the area they are visiting.